I mentioned a few blogs ago that Steve had entered a triathlon for the first time ever – this weekend gone, he completed it!
It was a “sprint” triathlon apparently, although an hour and a half of constant swimming, cycling and running don’t constitute a sprint in my books!! Nevertheless a 400m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run are what it entailed and Steve, along with 900 or so other brave souls, completed the course on Sunday.
The day started at 6 am – Steve’s allotted swim start time was 9 am so he wanted breakfast in good time for it to settle before the ride. At 7 am with porridge downed and gear packed methodically, off we set to Skipton, 17 miles or so from home. We had to be there an hour early to register, watch the educational safety video and prepare his gear in the “transition area”, however, we arrived at 7.30 as Steve wanted to be there in ample time to psyche himself up.
As the start time approached, I could see he was getting more and more excited, yet nervous at the same time. Steve’s a mad keen cyclist and he cycles and runs with the dogs, so I knew that aspect wasn’t concerning him too much. Swimming, however….is another matter. He’s not the strongest, shall we say, and he’d sort of setting his sights on getting through that discipline, after when I think he believed everything would be ok.
At 9 am, off he set swimming, along with several others (it was a staggered start throughout the day), in their designated lanes. There were 4 to a lane and he set off at a mad pace in what I can only assume was a clear desire to get the pool out of the way! Soon enough he was jumping out of the pool 16 lengths later, feeling glad that was done.
Off to transition, he ran, ready to set off on the bike ride. This was his confident leg and surely enough, he felt good to be on the bike and in familiar territory. However, whilst the weather was kind in being dry and relatively warm, it was horrendously windy. This hampered many riders and there were reports of terrible gusts almost blowing the riders off as they set out for the turning point.
It took Steve 50 minutes to complete the 20km leg before he rolled back into the transition area ready to start the run. As he swapped cycle shoes for trainers, he set off up the hill for the final leg, the run. Two laps of a pre-set course taking in the sports complex grounds and some on-road running were required. The route was up and downhill with little flat, so it was no surprise when I saw him running past looking absolutely shattered. I’d been talking to a family whilst he was on the course, so as he passed, we all cheered him on, which spurred his spirits – he almost smiled!!
Another 10 minutes or so and past us he came again, to a further cheer, after which I ran to the top of the hill and gave him another cheer as he came past with only 200 metres to go, before running down to the finish line to see him cross. He says his life flashed before his eyes on that last lap and judging by the look in his eyes, it did!
Shattered and ecstatic he was. Proud I was. An amazing effort that saw him complete the course in under an hour and a half, finishing 336th out of 900 or so in his first-ever triathlon. Did he “Catch the bug?” Well, immediately after he said never again, however on Monday morning I saw him looking at other upcoming events…..you never know.
Finally, Steve took on the challenge for two reasons – one for the experience of competing in a triathlon but mainly as a training session for what I know he classes as the real deal this year – his Pedal for Pounds ride in aid of the Keep It Up Campaign, supporting the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Thank you!